McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill

McConnell: Senate will take up North Korea sanctions bill
© Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellValerie Jarrett slams GOP for not including women in healthcare discussions Healthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Top GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the upper chamber will soon take up sanctions legislation against North Korea after the country claimed it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

"Sen. [Cory] Gardner has been working on a North Korea sanctions bill. We anticipate it will come out of the Foreign Relations Committee very soon, and I intend to schedule floor time on it shortly," he told reporters. 

The Republican leader met with Gardner, a Colorado Republican, and Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerTop GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan Tougher Russia sanctions bill facing another setback Lawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria MORE (R-Tenn.), the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, on the issue earlier Tuesday.

McConnell made the comments ahead of an expected House vote this week to approve legislation from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). That proposal would block North Korea’s access to hard currency and target its assets for nuclear development.

The reported tests from North Korea have sparked bipartisan concern from lawmakers, though the administration has disputed the isolated country's claims. The successful detonation of a hydrogen bomb by North Korea would both violate a United Nations Security Council resolution and mark an increase in the country's nuclear capabilities.

The top members of the Foreign Relations Committee also suggested after a classified briefing with administration officials on Monday evening that they would expect the Senate to take action on sanctions legislation.

Corker said that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation and "so we're going to go through it methodically."

The Tennessee Republican, however, suggested what specific sanctions to enact weren't a focus of the Monday briefing. 

Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinDem: Trump doesn’t have authorization for military action in Syria Lawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan MORE (D-Md.) said, separately, that he and Corker have already started having conversations to make sure the committee has a sanctions bill.

In addition to Gardner's legislation, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE (D-N.J.), who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGOP senators want surveillance requests from FBI Russia probe Overnight Cybersecurity: New ransomware attack spreads globally | US pharma giant hit | House intel panel interviews Podesta | US, Kenya deepen cyber partnership Graham gets frustrated in public ‘unmasking’ debate MORE (R-S.C.) have introduced a proposal to crack down on North Korea. 

The Graham-Menendez bill would expand the administration's ability to sanction property or seize the financial assets of individuals or organizations that aid the North Korean government. 

Menendez said that he is talking with Gardner to see if they can work out their differences and "bring it to the chairman in a bipartisan effort."